Adam Ant @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – Tuesday 26th November 2019

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The glory days of the post-punk romantic era of the early 80’s came to life at Symphony Hall with the dandy highwayman himself, Adam Ant, giving a two-hour performance that took in 1982’s Friend Or Foe in its entirety. The first album to be marketed as an Adam solo release Friend or Foe saw diminishing returns on the UK singles chart but proved to be considerably successful in the US where it was the only occasion Adam hit the Top 20.

Now in his mid-60’s it was pleasing to report that Adam was in good shape, still moving with the swagger and bravado of his youth and his voice holding up well. With the crowd on their feet from the moment the band hit stage Adam was given a roof-raising welcome as they eased into the title track. Although the album veered towards a slicker sound some of the unmistakable Ant trademarks were still present, such as the unique arrangements and innovative use of percussion. Naturally the current band features two drummers on towering high risers – Andy Woodard and the mysterious masked Jola – who remain the heartbeat of the unique Ant sound.

Album highlights included the jaunty ‘Desperate But Not Serious’, Doors cover ‘Hello, I Love You’ and the familiar and catchy refrain of ‘Goody Two Shoes’. Of course, the issue with playing an album in sequence is that it takes away any spontaneity from the show so there was a little less enthusiasm for the later tracks before the crowd came back to life when ‘Dog Eat Dog’ kicked in and we were taken back to those lavish videos and early Top of The Pops appearances that spawned Antmania, tabloid headlines and a hell of a lot of fancy dress costumes.

 Aside from the obvious big hits the second half of the set delved into the treasure trove of early songs and B Sides that have been long-time live staples. With Adam increasingly animated and good natured the sing-a-long highlights came at pace with ‘Antmusic’, ‘Prince Charming’ and ‘Puss ‘n Boots’ before he delivered a show stopping ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’. With both guitarists moving to kettle drums the Burundi beats and tribal rhythms resounded all around Symphony Hall. The show may have been all about nostalgia and the audience very much of a certain vintage, but this was a terrific night out for all.

Setlist:-

Friend or Foe

Something Girls

Place in the Country

Desperate But Not Serious

Here Comes the Grump

Hello, I Love You

Goody Two Shoes

Crackpot History and the Right to Lie

Made of Money

Cajun Twisters

Try This for Sighs

Man Called Marco

Dog Eat Dog

Kick!

Vive le Rock

Antmusic

Zerox

Cartrouble

Prince Charming

Puss ‘n Boots

Lady

Fall-In

Kings of Wild Frontier

Beat My Guest

Stand and Deliver

Encore:-

Press Darlings

Red Scab

Physical (You’re So)

 

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